Parental Reasoning on Choosing the Mobile Preschool: Enabling Sustainable Development or Adjusting to a Neoliberal Society?

Maria Ojala, Danielle Ekman Ladru, Katarina Gustafson
2020 Early Childhood Education Journal  
Due to the emergence of new forms of preschools and parents' increased freedom of choice regarding early childhood education, more research on parental preschool preferences is needed. Although preschool offers a seedbed for the development of knowledge and competencies, this development matures through interaction with parents. Therefore, parental expectations and wishes are very likely to affect children's learning. The mobile preschool is a new form of educational practice in Sweden where
more » ... ldren travel by bus to different places for play and learning. This form of preschool can potentially lay a foundation for social and ecological sustainability because children learn to meet diverse people, explore different places, and spend time in nature. We interviewed 15 parents of children in a mobile preschool, most from a middle-class background. The main aim was to explore how these parents explain their choice of this type of preschool. Another aim was to identify desirable competencies that the parents think their children will achieve through the mobile preschool. Six themes related to preschool choice were identified; of these themes, "being out in nature" and "enlarging the children's reality" were the most prominent. Two clusters of competencies were distinguished: care-and cooperation-oriented competencies, and freedomand independence-oriented competencies. After analyzing these results in relation to two current educational discourseseducation for sustainable development and entrepreneurship in a neoliberal society-we show how parents participate in reproducing these discourses. These findings add novel and important knowledge to the field of early childhood educational practices concerning parental choice and preferences.
doi:10.1007/s10643-020-01083-z fatcat:6nl2o3vojfagrcbqntmozrdszi